Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Miguel Oliveira of Portugal rode the race of his life in Sunday’s final round of the 2015 MotoGP Moto3 World Championship in Valencia, Spain to take victory ahead of Jorge Navarro and KTM riderJakub Kornfeil.
Oliveira, who has won four of the last six rounds and finished second in the other two finally had to concede the world title to British rider Danny Kent who crossed the line in ninth place. Oliveira went into the final round with a 24-point deficit and the slimmest chance of taking the championship. He had to win the race and have Kent not finish higher than fifteenth so it was always a big ask.
Kent started back at 18th on the grid and Oliveira, who had a second row start, fought like a tiger and was the major player throughout the 24-lap race, leading for 18 of the 24 laps. Going into Lap 15, he was just three points off the title but a last lap race incident bumped Kent up to ninth place. Oliveira was just six points short of the prize when he crossed the line.
While Oliveira and the Red Bull KTM Ajo team knew there was only a small chance to take the title, Oliveira’s great second half of the season did give him hopes that he may be able to pull it off.
Miguel Oliveira: “I have mixed feeling because of course we knew we only had a small chance of the championship but being able to fight for it you really start to believe in it. Of course I won the race, the last of the season and my last in the Moto3 category. I am very happy for the team. It was an amazing season, especially the end of the championship was quite good. I want to thank everyone on the team for the great job they did.”
Czech rider Kornfeilsaid that during the race be was hoping to be in the first group but didn’t believe in the last corner that he could finish on the podium. “I was behind Antonelli and he was very fast, so I said okay, five or six would be great. I had a lot of luck today.” In fact it was the race incident in the final lap that helped lift Kornfeil onto the podium.
Oliveira’s teammateBrad Binder of South Africa finished fourth, with KTM riders Isaac Vinales and Philipp Oettl at sixth and tenth to give KTM five of the top ten in the final round. It was a disappointing final round for Karel Hanika, the third rider in the Red Bull KTM Ajo garage who crashed out in Lap 11.
Oliveira’s win preserved KTM’s perfect scorecard at the Valencia circuit. The Austrian brand has won every race since Moto3 was introduced to replace the former 125 cc category. In 2015, the Portuguese rider moves up to Moto2. Brad Binder stays with the Red Bull KTM Ajo team and will race alongside Bo Bendsneyder, the 2015 Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup champion.
1. Miguel Oliveira (POR), KTM, 40:09.792 min
2. Jorge Navarro (ESP), Honda, 40:09.990
3. Jakub Kornfeil (CZE), KTM, 40:11.882
4. Brad Binder (RSA), KTM, 40:11.913
6. Isaac Viñales (ESP), KTM, 40:13.135
7. John McPhee (GBR), Honda, 40:13.879
8. Hiroki Ono (JPN), Honda, 40:19.419
9. Danny Kent (GBR) Honda, 40:19.706
10. Philipp Oettl (GER), KTM, 40:20.372
Moto3 Standings after Round 18
1. Kent, 260
2. Oliveira, 254
3. Bastianini, 207
4. Fenati, 176
5. Antonelli, 174
6. B. Binder, 159
9. Viñales, 115
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